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Buscaglia: Game School IP Ownership A 'Moral Issue'

As part of an in-depth investigative feature into game schools retaining IP on student games, game attorney Tom Buscaglia has been discussing the problem, suggestin
As part of an in-depth investigative feature into a number of game schools that retain the intellectual property of student games, game attorney Tom Buscaglia has been discussing the problem, suggesting it's "morally reprehensible" for institutions to keep game rights. Buscaglia, who represents the ex-DigiPen students at Fishbeat whose title Synaesthete won the best student game award at the 2008 Independent Games Festival, argued: "I don't want to sound hokey, but this is a moral issue." The lawyer (and sometime Gamasutra columnist) added: "What you've got here is an institution that, while it claims to be there to teach and help unsophisticated students, is having them sign over ownership of their work. And that, to me, seems morally reprehensible which, frankly, is what's driving me to speak out -- my moral outrage." Fishbeat's Zach Aikman also chimed in as part of the story, noting that respected game school DigiPen -- which also produced the team behind Game Developer's Choice Awards Game Of The Year Portal -- "were dead set on not setting a precedent because, if they let us keep the IP, they were afraid other students would want the same." "But I believe there's something wrong with the idea of DigiPen owning games it has no intention of doing anything with, while discouraging people like me who could really make use of our efforts and use it as a springboard to a career." Aikman concluded: "It's like going to an art school and creating a painting while you're there. Does the school own the art that took so much of your time and effort? I don't see why the same thing shouldn't apply to games." The full Gamasutra feature on the subject includes a response from DigiPen president Claude Comair, as well as further commentary from the IGDA's Jason Della Rocca and other game school representatives.

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